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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  August 22, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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midterm. so whatever happens, mr. hunter will be on the ballot. his name will be there under the republican candidate. now he does have a challenger, a democratic challenger. a prolific, prolific fund-raiser, businessman is hoping to unseat him and the chances may have gotten better. >> fascinating reporting tonight, sarah. thank you. thank you for joining us. i'll see you here tomorrow "ac 360" starts now. >> crime that isn't crime, noncrime, by the way that, president trump says he never committed even though at least some of his argument is undermind by his own voice on tape and the surreal little nugget is part of the picture as the president and his people spin the reality that two more of the former associates are felons and one of them attorney michael cohen tied him under oath to pair of crime. his attorney joins us momentarily as for the president, he responded today by slamming mr. cohen on twitter
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saying, "if anyone is looking for a good lawyer, i would strongly suggest you don't retain the services of michael cohen." later the president turned to the fact and law twisting portion of his morning, michael cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime. probe had a big campaign violation and easily settled. on the second point, first, the president appears to be referring to a 2008 obama campaign which was fined $375,000 by the federal election commission for missing certain reporting deadlines. the matter didn't rise to the criminal level because there is no evidence that the misreporting was deliberate. by contrast, mr. cohen pleaded guilty to a pair of violation that's not only were deliberate but also according to cohen's statement were done and i quote, "in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office." he bought the silence of stormy daniels and karen mcdougal right before the election. as for it not be a crime, perhaps mr. cohen should tell
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that to the judge at his sentencing. beyond this legal claim which we'll discuss shortly with jeff toobin and allen dershowitz, he said that those payments were lawful. here's what he said to fox. >> did you know about the payment? >> later on i knew. later on. but, you have to understand, what he did and they weren't taking out of campaign finance. that is a much bigger thing. did they come out of the campaign. they didn't. they came from me. i tweeted about it. i don't know if you know, but i tweeted about the payments. but they didn't come out of campaign. in fact, my first question when i heard about it was did they come out of the campaign because that could be a little dicey. and they didn't come out of the campaign. and that's big. but they weren't -- that's not a -- that's not even a campaign violation. if you look at president obama, he had a massive campaign
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violation. but he had a different attorney general and they viewed it a lot different. >> well, again, the obama campaign violation certainly drew a hefty fine but was a misdemeanor not a felony. as for the claim the payments he made were personal and kosher is not how career professionals in new york saw it. as for not knowing about the daniels payment and mcdougal deal until later on as the president told fox, it's not like he's on tape or anything about talking about the arrangementes before the fact. because if he were on tape, he would know it would undermine his whole argument, right? apparently not. cue the tape. >> i need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that information regarding our friend david. so that i'm going to do that right away. i've come up on -- i spoke to allen about how to set the whole thing up. >> so what are we going to do? >> with funding.
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yes. and it's all the stuff -- all the stuff. you have to know where that company, you never know where he's going to be. so i'm all over that. and i spoke to allen about it. when it comes time for the financing which will be -- >> listen? what financing? >> well, i have to pay you. >> no cash. >> no. no. >> how are you? >> i guess where truth is not truth and crime isn't crime, your own voice on tape isn't your voice on tape. the president is trying to absorb a body blow. he doesn't seem to have any good answer because there may simply be none which might explain why his press secretary could only offer a string of nonanswers when asked about the cohen case. >> as the president said we've stated many times, he did nothing wrong. there are no charges against him. and we've commented on this extensively. as the president has stated on numerous occasions, did he nothing wrong. i'm not going to get into the back and forth of the legal part of this. i would refer you to the president's outside counsel on
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that. the president has expressed his views on that. i don't have anything further to add. once again, i commented on this pretty extensively. for anything beyond that, i would refer you to the president's outside counsel. once again, i have addressed this a number of times just because you continue to ask the same questions over and over. i'm not going to give you a different answer. if you want something further, i would refer you to the president's outside counsel. we have addressed this a number of times. the president's addressed this a nymph times. i addressed all i'm going to say on the cohen issue. the president haexpressed his views on this matter and i have nothing else to do. >> saying ayou addressed something that, doesn't mean awe dressed it, that means you responded to it. you didn't actually answer the question. the only correspondent who managed to press sarah sanders is kaitlyn collins. i want to play the interchange she had with sarah sanders so you get a better sense of the moment. >> in his interview, the president said he found out about the payment that's michael cohen made later on. but he's on tape discussing how
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to make one of the payments with michael cohen. so before the payment was made. how how do you explain that? >> i commented on this pretty extensively. what i can tell you about this is that the president did nothing wrong. there are no charges against him. there is no collusion for anything beyond that. i would refer you to the president's outside counsel. >> rudy giuliani is not a taxpayer funded spokesperson for the president. you are. the president said today on the grounds of the white house that seems to contradict an audio that has been confirmed that it is of the president saying that. >> once again, i have addressed this a number of times. just because you continue to as the same questions over and over, i'm not going to give you a different answer. the president has done nothing wrong. there are no charges against him. there is no collusion. that's what i can tell you about this. if you want something further, i refer you to the president's outside counsel. >> does the white house maintain -- does the white house maintain the president did not have affairs with karen mcdougal or stephanie clifford?
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>> we addressed this a number of times. >> the briefing today, sanders refusing to give a straight answer having to do with michael cohen and the president. >> she was unable to mount any defense in light of the claims he made. it is like reading the back of a shampoo bottle. the president did nothing wrong. there are no charges. repeat. every single question she was asked, no matter which way it was asked about what michael cohen said implicating the president in a crime. can you see why she would say. that you remember back in march when she came out and definitively stated that the president didn't know anything about those payments made to stormy daniels citing a conversation she had with the president where he denied it, she could have easily had one of those today where the president denied he directed michael cohen to make the payments to be contradicted by the president later. >> in terms of the sort of the mood in the white house and people working there, what do you hear? what you a what are you learning? >> the president is in a very bad mood. did he not see what happened
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with michael cohen coming. his top lawyer is out of the country. those that know the president best and work with him say he seems like he is backed in a corner and they don't know what it is that the president is going to do next in response to all of this. >> all right. kaitlyn collins, thank you very much. now my conversation with the public face for the moment of michael cohen, lanny davis is a crisis management expert and attorney. tonight his expertise is used to address a question of his client's credibility because regardless of whether you put any credence in mr. cohen's critics or not, he doesn't have a reputation in the past as a truth teller. i asked lanny davis about it just before air time. the central push back is that michael cohen lied about these payments, that he's a liar. he told "the new york times" back in february that either the trump organization or the trump campaign was a party with the transaction of miss clifford and reimburse me directly or indirectly. that was a lie. he said payments to miss
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clifford was lawful and not a campaign expenditure. that was a lie. why should the public believe him now? >> well, first of all, he's admitted to lying and he has taken a course he hopes shows he's taking responsibility. secondly, the prosecutors did a thorough job of investigating the facts. and what he said in what is called the allocution where he is talking to the judge about what he is admitting to, on the key issues involving president trump. he said that he was, according to the words of the allocution, that he specifically was directed and coordinated through president trump's direction the payment of this money to miss daniels and he took responsibility under oath and said that that was a -- an
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illegal act because it had a primary political purpose which is the criminal violation of the campaign finance law. >> you can understand why some people are skeptical. >> sure. >> he's doing this under oath. you said you started working with him because he convinced you he really wanted to start telling the truth. he did though have his own friend and attorney david schwartz go out on television time and time again. i interviewed him multiple times repeating the lies that cohen was telling back at that time. i don't know if he lied to david schwartz. i mean, did -- did he lie to david schwartz? if he lied to schwartz, couldn't he be lying to you? >> of course. it took me a while to talk and get to know michael and his decision to change his life and as he said to me, hit the reset button and recognize you can't get a redo in life when you make mistakes and some of the things that he did for mr. trump he talked to me about and not being particularly proud of or things
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that he said that weren't true on camera. he is not particularly proud of that. >> isn't that a change of heart only after his offices are raided and he realizes he is facing possible serious jail time? >> sure. but when we talked, it was mostly about his feelings about mr. trump, his positions on issues, his conduct of the presidency and what i found after quite a long period of time talking to him, a sincere conviction that mr. trump represented a danger to the country. and would i help him tell his story which i guess i'm known as a crisis manager to get facts out and to no matter what you've done up to a point to take responsibility for your mistakes. >> but i mean that is such a huge change of heart for this guy. he was the guy that said he would take a bullet for him. anything mr. -- he was on cnn
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during the campaign -- >> take the bullet. >> yeah. saying things which were, you know, false but he would -- he was an attack dog for the president to now suddenly say he believes the president's a danger to the kun sflicountry? that's a 180. >> there are people in life that have transformtive experiences and they're sincere and there are people that continue to lie and are opportunityists. you have to judge which is which when you use instincts. i took a while in making the judgement that he was ready to talk about mr. trump and his knowledge about mr. trump and the disadvantages that he now saw that as a businessman were very dangerous as president. now whether he's telling the truth or not is anybody's judgement. and your skepticism is certainly not only entitled founded on what he did in the past.
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i made the judgement that i believed him. i would believe him based on his words and his deeds. >> on -- sorry. go ahead. >> i mean, so far i still believe he's telling the truth. >> on "good morning america" today, you said that michael cohen and i quote, "can now speak completely the truth without the shadow of the potential prosecution hanging over him." you said you thought he'd be willing to speak without any guarantee of immunity. if that's true, why doesn't michael cohen hold a press conference tonight or tomorrow morning and just speak the truth? if he has no shadow hanging over him, doesn't care about immunity, why doesn't he just stand up in public and say everything he knows right now? >> well, several reasons. first of all, the criminal case in the southern district is not over. there is still a question of sentencing and assessing under the guidelines. >> but wouldn't that speak in his favor if, i mean, if he's told the prosecutors everything he already knows, why can't he just now tell the public everything he already knows?
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>> i can only tell you, anderson, to complete the thought he hasn't finished his lawyer has not finished the discussions with the prosecutors who he's been very respectful of and until those discussions on all the details including he has a wife and two kids, period of incarceration that he is facing, his lawyers have given him advice that he's got to wait. he also has the special counsel who he's either going to be talking to or has talked to. i won't be able to tell you which. >> right. >> but there are a lot of moving parts in a very tragic situation that there will come a time as i said in "good morning america" when the shadow of uncertainty becomes certainty. he's going to be incarcerated. he's going to leave his family behind quite traumatized that he wants to turn his life and tell the truth. >> you were just on with wolf blitzer. you said that michael cohen was
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present for a meeting with donald trump p and don jr. about the trump tower meeting. this is important. you also said that michael cohen testified truthfully to the senate intelligence committee and according to the chair and vice chair, he told them he had no knowledge of the meeting until he saw it in the press. how can both of those things be true? either he knew about the meeting or he didn't know about the meeting. >> well, i think the reporting of the story got mixed up in the course of a criminal investigation. we were not the source of the story. and the question of a criminal investigation, the advice we were given, those of us dealing with the media is that we could not do anything other than stay silent. >> so can you say now whether in fact michael cohen has information that president trump was aware either before the trump tower meeting that don jr. was part of with russian attorney from the kremlin with
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dirt on hillary clinton, either that michael cohen has information that president knew about it in advance or knew about it immediately after? >> senator byrd and senator warner read the answer to the question about his testimony which is that he said he was not aware ahead of time. and did not hear anything to the contrary and that was the testimony before the senate as well as the house intelligence kmp km committees and he said that testimony was accurate. >> so michael cohen does not have information that president trump knew about the trump tower meeting with the russians beforehand or even after? >> no, there's not. >> i know you won't say if you spoke to mueller's team. i'm not going to press you on thafrment y that. you said you believe michael cohen has knowledge about whether or not then candidate trump knew about the computer crime of hacking and whether or not mr. trump knew ahead of time about that crime and even cheered it on. do you stand by that tonight? >> i think i was a little bit
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more tentative on that. i think what i said was that at some point mr. cohen might be able to be useful to the special counsel about whether president trump knew ahead of time about the hacking of the hillary clinton e-mails. and it's not a certainty the way he recalls it. may or may not be useful to mr. mueller and i don't want to go beyond my intuition. >> right. i know you have to be careful. >> i think what he can say would be useful. and that's the way i have to leave it. >> there are two fascinating details in the charging document that haven't gotten a lot of attention. one is on page 16 of the criminal information document. it says that cohen "coordinated with one or more members of the
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campaign including through meetings and phone calls about the fact, nature and timing of the payments." talking about the payments to stormy daniels and mcdougal. we know one person was the president. if there was another person involved in the campaign who he was talking about this with, e-mailing, discussing, do you know who that other person was? >> no, i don't. and, you know, unidentified in -- you're reading from the information document. >> correct. >> underlying the plea. and i do not know that. and if i did, i would not be able to discuss that because he's still in the process of dealing with the prosecutors on all of the issues that still remain. >> can you say if there is another person from the campaign or even who is now in the white house? >> i can't say. zblfr oka >> okay. >> i can't say. >> did you ever ask michael cohen that question?
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>> i've talked to michael cohen about a lot of things but the specifics until the information came out, i was not aware of the details of what the government was saying and who was involved in the chain of command on the decision to pay the what looks like an illegal campaign contribution that he has owned up to under oath which mr. trump has not but, no, the answer is i don't know the identity of a number of individuals that are not identified in that information. >> because obviously, the reason i'm pushing, if there is another individual that knows about the payments and part of the campaign and is still part of the white house that, would obviously be extremely important and a new detail and a fascinating one. the other detail in the documents is that michael cohen charged the trump organization $50,000 for what he listed as text services which according to the court document was "related to work that cohen solicited from a tech company during and in connection with the
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campaign." previously michael cohen supposedly had no role in the campaign. can you say what company that was and what services were rendered or was that another payment to protect then candidate trump? or can you even say if michael cohen was involved in the campaign? >> i just learned all this in the last several days. as you know, the final plea agreement and the final statement in court was just a couple days ago. so i haven't gotten the ability to find out the answer to that question either. i believe that mr. cohen referenced that contract as something that he was doing to assist the campaign. but i don't know too much about that either. >> but officially michael cohen was not part of the campaign. isn't that -- >> correct. >> so if, in fact, he was -- if he was telling the truth in what billing was, he -- he was claiming to the trump organization that he was actually doing work for the
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campaign which here to for had not been known? >> well, i think just reading it without knowing the details, i just read what you read, it appears that he had a contract to provide technology support and he supplied that vendor to the campaign and passed through the expense. but i'm just reading something that i don't know much about. i have not talked to mr. cohen about so i'm just speculating. >> lanny davis, i appreciate your time. >> we'll break this down with jeffrey tu jeffrey toobin and allen dar dershowitz and all that transpired on the last 24 hours, some of which he predicted and where things may go from here for his client and his one time adversary michael cohen.
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you heard michael cohen's attorney defend his client's credibility in defense of allegations he made in court is not to be trusted and he said mr. cohen did not have information that candidate trum health care plan pri -- trump had prior knowledge of the e-mails before the elections and he has information that may be useful to mueller's investigation. what mr. cohen said set off tremors in washington, triggering an eruption from the president about a man he thought was a standup guy. michael is a businessman for his own account lawyer i liked and respected. most people flip in the government lets them out of trouble even if it means lying or making up stories. i don't see michael doing that despite the horrible witch hunt and dishonest media. joining us is allen dershowitz, also, his law school student, cnn's chief legal analyst jeffrey toobin. i want to go back to this thing
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which is, i mean, if lanny davis is saying that michael cohen is unburdened. he doesn't care about immunity. he wants to speak the truth. can he just speak the truth? >> sure. >> i mean he's raising money for people to pay him to speak the truth and fund him. can he just hold a press conference? >> he could. he is also under the thumb of the prosecutors at this point. and they may not want him to go public at this point. i mean they may want -- they may continue their investigation. they don't want his story out there. that's possibility. >> you mean the mueller prosecutors? >> mueller prosecutors or the southern district. that's where his case is. >> right. >> so i don't know what the play has been between cohen and the prosecutors. certainly as a legal matter, there is nothing stopping him from telling a story right now. >> professor, you said the white house, that the assertion the white house made that president committed no crime here, i mean, do you think michael cohen
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committed a crime here? >> well, it all depends. these campaign finance laws are so confusing that even justice scalia with the help of four brilliant law clerks said he couldn't figure them out. for example, a president or a candidate is entitled to make millions of dollars for contributions to his own campaign. and if he himself, if president trump paid the hush money, hush smn n money is not illegal -- >> if he did it through the corporation. >> put aside the corporation. >> but that's how the money was paid back to cohen. >> well, you know, the question is what was his state of mind at the time if he directed the person to do it? if he directed the lawyer to do it and if it came from his own money, that would be lawful. but if cohen himself made the contribution, we'll see. cohen himself made the contradiction that, is a crime by cohen. that wouldn't make trump an
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unindicted co-conspirator. can you have a crime committed by cohen but even if he's directed to do it by trump, if trump had the authority to do it and it depends on where the money came from, it depends on a variety of issues. >> but i'm asking if you it came from the trump organization. you seem to be avoiding what was said. >> can i answer your question in one word? >> what we know there are contributions that are made by corporations and we know that the supreme court has had a terrible time figuring all of this out. and you don't use complex, subtle, confusing criminal law as the basis either for charging or impeaching a president. that's why people are mostly fined violating the laws. >> you know, it's helpful to donald trump to think this is all that complicated. it's no the that complicated. did michael cohen commit a crime? you bet he did.
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let's think about why campaign finance laws exist at all. right? the reason they exist is so that we know who finances campaigns and we know what they spend the money on. the trump campaign and donald trump lied about both of those things on an incredibly important subject. because they didn't -- they wanted to spend the money to help donald trump get elected president and they wanted to keep secret how they were spending the money because the public might not have liked $280,000 spent in hush money for women that donald trump apparently slept with. that's what happened here. >> that's absolutely right. but tell me -- let's stop there. it's a crime under certain circumstances. it's no the a crime under any other circumstance. a president would have the right to do the following. he'd have the right to pay the hush money. keep it secret until the next reporting time which may be after the election.
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direct his lawyer to pay the money. none of that would be a crime. >> but he didn't do that. that's very interesting. built that's not what happened. >> we don't know what he did. you say that cohen committed a crime. it all depends -- >> so does cohen. >> cohen seld he committed a crime and the judge said he committed a crime. >> i understand that. you don't believe that the trump organization was billed by michael cohen? and that trump organization paid back michael cohen? >> there is a dispute about the facts. the president said today he paid the money out of his own pocket. >> he just said he paid. >> if it was a corporate -- if it was a corporate contribution, that's very different. look, the law is so unclear after citizens united -- >> you're saying that's a problem? >> of course. well, look, it's all a problem. i'm not here to defend trump. it's a problem. it's a problem because -- >> the president is saying it's not a problem. >> it's a problem. i'm not here to defend the president. i'm here to say that it's a complicated issue.
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and that if a candidate makes a contribution on his own to pay hush money, that sounds terrible. it's a political sin. i'm here to say you have to distinguish between political sin and federal felonies. i think a lot of the commentary so far failed to do that. >> he compared this to jay walking. you said that all candidates running for -- you said that all candidates for president violate campaign election laws. >> don't tell me what i said. let me tell you what i said. >> i have the quote right here. >> failing to report -- >> well, yeah. >> failing to report a lawful contribution is the political equivalent of jay walking. every political campaign does that all the time. and they should be punished for it. >> and how many of those -- allen, let me talk for a second, for god sake. >> it's a crime for the campaign. >> okay. >> i mean, you know, everybody does it. how many campaigns do it with a $130,000 to one woman and
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$150,000 to another woman in hush money -- >> nothing illegal about that. nothing illegal about that. >> if it comes from a campaign? >> it's perfectly okay. that's the issue. that is the issue in other cases. this is the most complex array of laws, relations and rules but the simple part of it and the simple and most important part of it is a candidate may pay for any reason -- >> he said out of his own pocket. there is no evidence he did it out of his own pocket. >> all right. >> if that's what happened, then there is no crime here. >> but even if he does it out of his own pocket, he has to report that he did it out of his own pocket. and that was not done here. >> that's exactly right. that's exactly right and that is a violation. that is a violation. >> okay. >> it is regarded as a minor
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violation. certainly not an impeachable offense to fail to report a lawful contribution. you find me any case where failure to report -- it has to be willful, of course, failure to report is a crime against the campaign, not against the candidate. you show me any case where a person was actually charged criminally and sentenced to prison for failure to report an entirely lawful campaign contribution? >> allen, i don't have a lot of -- >> this is existing laws and targeting somebody who none of us likes and who none of us voted for and that's the most dangerous thing can you do in the criminal law, stretch it to target somebody who is unpopular with those who are doing the stretching. that's what i'm talking about. >> it's a heartbreaking treatment of donald trump. >> it's not heartbreaking. >> jeff, nobody is forced the president of the united states to repeatedly lie about this time and time again, to lie
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to -- >> it's not a crime to lie. >> okay, i'm just saying it's not that easy. the president of the united states -- >> i'm talking now. and i'm saying it's really sleazy. it is sleazy that michael cohen lied repeatedly about it, publicly, that he got his own attorney to come on television and either lie about it knowingly or accidentally and he seemed to lie to sarah sanders about it. >> allen, let me talk. >> you don't have to talk all the time. let jeff talk for a second. >> allen, there is -- it is undoubtedly true that sleaziness is not a violation of federal criminal law. sleaziness is in the eye of the beholder. i don't think there is any doubt that there was sleazy behavior here. but it is misleading to say that federal campaign laws are so complicated that you can't know what they are. the whole reason why they paid this money in this convoluted
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way was to avoid -- was to break the law. because they knew how bad it would look. so it is not a terribly complicated story. it is a willful violation of the law. >> i have to wrap it there. thank you very much. just ahead, republican reaction that can only be described as hands off in the wake of the cohen plea and the paul manafort conviction. i'll talk with mark warner.
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we report from capitol hill that republican members of congress are saying that short of firing special counsel robert mueller there is nothing that is going to split members from donald trump despite what happened in court yesterday. it's a position highlighted by paul ryan's spokesperson who made this statement yesterday, "we are aware plaintimr. cohen'y plea. we need more information than is currently available to this point." virginia senator mark warner is the ranking democrat. i spoke to him just before air. senator, the response from your republican colleagues has been pretty deafening the silence of
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the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell hasn't said one word about what is going on with michael cohen or paul manafort. what do you make of that? is there anything that could make them possibly speak out? >> well, let's see how this proceeds. but what can they say if they're trying to defend the president when the president's campaign manager guilty on eight counts and has got another trial in less than a month that will explore his ties to ukraine, pro russian leaders and oligarchs that could even be war damaging to the president. and the president's lawyer and fixer not only pleading guilty and accusing the president of breaking the law around campaign finances, but voluntarilily saying he's got information from mueller and my understanding is his lawyer at least said even come before our committee and give information as well. we've got questions about what he knew about trump's knowledge of the hacked e-mails and how they were used to hurt clinton and help trump. we've also got questions from mr. cohen about his involvement
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in the proposed trump tower and moscow, a lot of unanswered questions there. so we would welcome his appearance. >> if democrats were to take the house, obviously, a lot of them, you know, talking about the idea of possibly impeaching the president, is that something that the democrats should pursue if they do retake the house? >> i'm not going to get down the line. i still -- we still have work to do before we reach our conclusion. we're the last standing bipartisan committee that is looking into this investigation. we're still trying to follow the facts. >> you know, michael cohen's attorney, lanny davis, says that michael cohen wants to tell the whole truth to the american people. that he's maybe even willing to do -- speak without any immunity guarantees and that he no longer has this cloud, this legal cloud hanging over him. what i don't understand is if michael cohen wants to tell the truth so badly, what is preventing him right now? couldn't he just hold a press conference right now and -- >> he could go on your show. >> right. >> i don't -- again, the -- i
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think it's safe to say that the cast of characters that are around this president are unusual to say the least. i think we shouldn't be surprised. remember, mr. trump was a business guy that no american major bank would do business with because they didn't think he paid his debts or honored his word. we should not be that surprised although i'm frankly still fairly shocked that we got all of these guilty pleas and another 30 indictments coming out of the mueller investigation as well as every trump security official saying russia is still an on going threat and the president denies that threat and doesn't have anybody in charge of election security at the white house. >> the president claiming today that he found out about the payments only after they occurred. that's in direct contradiction to michael cohen's plea not to mention the recording of the president talking about making
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the payments or buying the life rights from ami about mcdougal's story. when sarah sanders was asked today if the president lied to the american public about it, she basically just -- she refused to answer. said it was a ridiculous question. i think that would be easiest question of all for her to answer. >> well, i think the american public, even some of the president's strongest supporters, have got to be questioning at this point. and the idea that mr. trump always tells the truth, i think that has been refuted on our most daily basis. and when you've got live individual yoef him sayi video of him saying one thing and then another thing. mr. cohen has his own credibility problems. but in termsst payments, boy, the time line, the recordings, video of trump denying knowledge of this person all to me is compelling that in this case at least i would bet on the fact that mr. trump knew and was deeply involved in this
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inappropriate payoff. >> just lastly, sarah sanders would not rule out a pardon for paul manafort. you said that any attempt to pardon him would be an abuse of power. what kind of congressional action would it require? >> i started putting this down last christmas saying firing mueller or starting to pardon family members or close associates would push us over the line. everything since then from his performance in helsinki where he cow you totowed to a russian prt and starting to threaten members of our national security community by taking away security clearances because of people exercising their first amendment rights, if this president now starts pardoning people that might have the goods on his bad deeds, even the most a ardent of r. supporter ardent supporters of the president, i hope they stand up to rule of law and not rule of trump. >> thank you. coming up, i'll talk with
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star stormy daniels is still working on putting donald trump under oath in the wake of michael cohen's guilty plea yesterday. he said it's clear as day that the president violated campaign finance laws despite the white house assertions did he nothing of the sort. he joins us now. so, michael, what went through your mind when you heard president trum tp today claimin that he didn't know about the payments until after they occurred? >> well, it's absurd, anderson. we've heard every story known to mankind from donald trump and michael cohen for that matter over the last six months. welcome to the alice in wonderland presidency. here, anderson, truth is not truth, a crime is not a crime, and alan dershowitz is not on television to defend donald trump. >> earlier this year somebody else who was on television defending michael cohen was his lawyer in another matter and his friend david schwartz. you were on with him multiple
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times. david schwartz repeatedly said all the things that michael cohen was saying at the time, which we now know were lies. whether -- we don't know if david schwartz knew michael cohen was lying or if he was lied to as well. we reached out to david schwartz to ask him, a, to come on. he declined. but he also said, and i want to make sure i get this right, that he was only repeating -- he was "merely repeating the public positions that were in the public domain at the time." was michael cohen do you think lying to his own attorney back then? >> well, i don't know, anderson. but that statement that you just read from david schwartz is absolutely false. david schwartz made numerous statements on your schmo others where he stated that he'd had discussions with michael cohen in detail and he was laying out vehemently positions that we know now were absolute lies. we had very spirited debates on your show. i know you remember them. i know i remember them. and now we find out that
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everything that was being espoused by david schwartz was a complete fabrication. >> you know, i've asked the question a couple times tonight, why michael cohen if according to his attorney now lanny davis says he's free from the burden of the shadow hanging over him, he's free to tell the truth and he doesn't care about immunity-y he doesn't come out and hold a press conference. i know you've been pushing for him to release any tapes he may have. jeff toobin raised the possibility that maybe the prosecutors still have something they want from him and he doesn't want to hurt their -- another case they may have. do you believe he could come forward and just start talking? >> there's no question that he could, anderson. and i've been demanding that for weeks, ever since lanny davis got involved and tried to repair the reputation of michael cohen, which frankly cannot be repaired. i've been stating for weeks that he should just come out, disclose what he knows, release the tapes, come clean with the american people. and if he wanted to do it right now, he certainly could. >> lanny davis said i think it was on "good morning america" or "today" show this morning
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that -- i want to get the quote right. michael cohen needs the american public's help to tell the truth. basically, that he has a website and he basically is hoping to fund-raise, get donations to pay legal expenses for michael cohen. it's a lot of chutzpah on michael cohen's part that a guy who defrauded the taxpayers of $1.4 million according to the government to now be asking taxpayers to fund him so he can then tell the truth. >> well, it's outrageous, anderson. you're absolutely right. i am highly confident that if michael cohen and lanny davis wanted to have a press conference or come on your show or any other show they wouldn't have to pay in order to do it. you don't have to be paid money in order to figure out a way to tell the truth. it's a pretty simple concept. >> you said you believe cohen's plea has increased your chances of being able to depose the president. how so? >> well, because now we have a factual predicate for our allegations as set forth in the
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amended complaint that we filed in the case. you know, for many, many months we were told by michael cohen and his attorneys that our case was frivolous, it had no basis. mr. trump and his lawyers have said the same thing. now we know all of those were lies. they were complete fabrications. we know the allegations in our complaint are on solid footing. and we're going to lay that out for the court in los angeles. i'm going to take a deposition of michael cohen under oath. i'm going to ask very pointed questions. and then i'm going to move on to a deposition of the president of the united states. and he may want to lie to the american people. but we're going to find out if he's prepared to lie under oath. >> michael avenatti, i appreciate your time. michael, thanks very much. >> welcome to the alice in wonderland presidency. >> through the looking glass. michael, thanks. new questions in the murder of 20-year-old mollie tibbetts as a suspect is arraigned in iowa. the present republican leaders are focusing on the case, trying to further their immigration agenda. we'll have the details, the latest on the case ahead. if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis,
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in iowa city tonight a vigil to remember mollie tibbetts, the 20-year-old student who went chrissing last month and whose body was found yesterday. today the man accused of killing her, who was in the united states illegally, was arraigned on a first degree murder charge. the suspect worked in the iowa dairy farm. the co-owner of that farm said they've just learned he gave false identification papers when he applied for the job. president trump and his applies have been highlighting her murder as an example of why they say there needs to be a change in immigration policy. mollie tibbetts was studying psychology at the university of iowa. tonight people gathered to honor her life and her memory. her family put out a statement thanking people from around the world who sent their thoughts and prayers. they said they'll carry mollie in their hearts forever and are asking for time to process the devastating loss. of course we'll continue to follow that story. a reminder, don't miss full sishlg our daily interactive newscast that just started on facebook. you pick the stories we cover.
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you can see it weeknights 6:25 p.m. eastern at cooper full circle. right now the news continues. i want to hand it over to chris cuomo for "cuomo prime time." chris? >> all right. thank you, anderson. i am chris cuomo. plm to "prime time." we have new information about what may be next for michael cohen. if he's going to deal with any more authorities. and the president's latest legal misstep. trump has twisted his story once again about the payments made by his lawyer to help his campaign. and this latest one has him tied up in knots. we have trump's former lawyer, whom he called for advice about how to handle the cohen situation. what he thought then and now. and you know the president is on his heels with what just happened because he whipped out his what about defense. what about obama? he did it too. no, he didn't. we have the facts ahead. and a